The "war on drugs" will not be won in the jungles of Colombia or along the borders of the United States. Drug abuse will come under control when we, as scientists, find ways to relieve addicts of their compulsive need for a fix.

Addictions are chronic diseases originating in adolescence and young adulthood. Although the decision to experiment with drugs may have been voluntary, what occurs thereafter is a physiological disorder, not a "failure of will." Susceptibility to addiction is an inherent characteristic that has been demonstrated in every species of animal tested. In humans, for example, cocaine activates the brain's intrinsic reward system, initially producing an intense sense of pleasure, a "high." It also acts as a reinforcer - an inducer of long-term memory - that creates a neurobehavioral demand for cocaine, resulting in "drug-seeking behavior." The reinforcing properties of crack (a smokable and quickly absorbed form of cocaine)...

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